Air Mauritius launches direct flights to S'pore

Mr Duval and Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan launching the Asia-Africa Corridor at Changi Airport yesterday.
Mr Duval and Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan launching the Asia-Africa Corridor at Changi Airport yesterday.PHOTO: SINGAPORE COOPERATION ENTERPRISE

Air Mauritius launched its first non-stop flight to Singapore yesterday.

Previously, passengers had to stop over in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Port Louis, the capital of the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

But a memorandum of understanding signed with Changi Airport last year has changed that.

Mauritian Deputy Prime Minister Charles Gaetan Xavier-Luc Duval told reporters during his state visit here yesterday: "Africa is waking up, everybody is concentrating on Africa, everybody sees Africa as a major growth pole. And Mauritius is just sitting off the coast of Africa.

"The potential between these two hubs is enormous, because trade and investment between Asia and Africa are bound to grow exponentially."

The seven-hour flights between Singapore and Mauritius now run three times a week.

The next step for the island nation is to build up its connectivity to the rest of Africa, said Mr Ken Poonoosamy, managing director of the Mauritius Board of Investment.

"At the moment, we have direct flights to South Africa and Kenya. We will set up direct connections to Mozambique and Tanzania in May," said Mr Poonoosamy on the sidelines of the Mauritius Business Forum held at Hilton Singapore.

Last year, international tourist arrivals in Mauritius rose 10 per cent.

Mr Duval, who is also the minister of tourism and external communications, invited Singapore firms to use Mauritius as their regional headquarters from which to invest in Africa.

"Another important component of our vision is to transform Mauritius into a smart island. Our government is therefore encouraging projects involving smart cities and new cyber cities that will include techno parks," he said in a speech to the business community here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline 'Air Mauritius launches direct flights to S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe